Thursday, July 26, 2018


“You probably do not understand yourself as well as you think you do.”
By: Steve Ayan
Level of difficulty: ***
1.       Your perspective on yourself is distorted
a.       What surprising revelation is made at the beginning of the text?
b.      The underlying reason for introspective illusion is that…
c.       What conclusion can be drawn from Pronin’s experiment? What is the reason for the attitude displayed by the subjects?
d.      What does “this conclusion” in the last paragraph of the text refer to?
2.       Your motives are often a complete mystery to you
a.       Researchers resort to various procedures to discover who the person really is. What is the reason for their endeavors? To determine…
b.      Reactions that are not carefully thought out are a better / worse reflection of true character because…
c.       Look back at the whole section. Which of the following sentences could form the concluding statement:
·         In short, different tests have different functions when assessing a subject’s personality
·         In short, different tests are needed for a fuller picture of subject’s personality
3.       Outward appearances tell people a lot about you
a.       What finding mentioned in this section corresponds closely to what has already been mentioned about self knowledge?
b.      Imagine a typical sociopath came to a big social event. Would the people at the party be able to tell he was a sociopath? Why or why not?
c.       Imagine you are at the same social event but that the whole event was filmed. Watching it afterwards would help you in that you would become better aware of………because…
4.       Gaining some distance can help you know yourself better
a.       The purpose of mindfulness meditation is to get the individual to…
b.      Keeping a diary, self-reflection and serious conversations don’t work well because …
c.        Young people in many countries believe they need to complete their education, get a job, get married buy a house and a car but this may not make them happy because…
5.       We too often think we are better at something than we are
a.       Read the information provided about the Dunning Kruger effect carefully. Which sentence best summarizes the outcome of the experiment?
b.      What is the significance of the above outcome?
c.       What is the obvious reason for the chasm between would be and actual performance?
d.      What is its implication in terms of a person’s whole life?
e.      Why?
6.       People who tear themselves down experience setbacks more frequently
a.       Parents who treat their children harshly in the belief that they are preparing them for life are making a mistake because…
b.      What surprising conclusion can be drawn from Swann’s experiment? Two answers
c.       What is the reason for this surprising conclusion? Two answers
7.       You deceive yourself without realizing it
a.       The experiment involving the IQ test proved that…,
b.      The purpose of Sloman’s experiment was to show that…
c.       The experiments carried out by Gur and Sackeim show that…
d.      Refer to the study involving a practice test. It made little sense for the subjects to cheat yet they did because….
8.       The true self is good for you
a.       The purpose of the study conducted by Schlegel and Hicks was…
b.      We understand from Newman and Knobe’s study that people believe… Two answers
c.       The study involving Mark’s dilemma proved that…
d.      The fact that people connect personal improvements more than personal deficiencies to their true selves may explain why…
e.      Was the initial question posed in the study involving Buddhists supported or not by the conclusions reached at the end of the study? How do you know?
9.       Insecure people tend to behave more morally
a.       Why do “insecure people behave more morally”? Be specific.
b.      What is ironical about people who think they know themselves well?
10.   If you think of yourself as flexible, you will do much better
a.       Why is a person who believes he is doomed to fail more likely to do so? Two answers
b.      The healthiest attitude to failure is …
c.       What misconception concerning personality is mentioned in the text?
Use the information in the text and the videos to write about how we can gain a better understanding of ourselves and our motives
This fascinating text underlines our various misconceptions, unconscious motivations and defense mechanisms concerning our understanding of our personality. The opinions are supported by research conducted by renowned scholars and experts. The structure of the text is very well suited to self study or class work as it is divided into ten short sections each addressing one aspect of the problem. The activity can be done in installments at home or in class
1 a. We do not have privileged access to who we are (Shortest answer) b. We do not want to be stingy, arrogant or self-righteous so we assume that we are not any of those things c. We are primed to mask our own biases, we intend to be morally good d. We are producing a flattering self-image that denies the failings that we all have
2 a. How well people know themselves b. Unconscious parts of the personality come to the fore c. The second
3 a.  Our assessments of ourselves most closely match assessments by others when it comes to more neutral characteristics b. No they wouldn’t because his characteristics would not affect his behavior c. The effect we have on others; we would see our own facial expressions, gestures and body language
4 a. Step out of himself and simply observe what his mind does b. They don’t provide distance c. Their conscious goals and unconscious motives may not be aligned or congruent
5 a. The more incompetent people are the less aware they are of their incompetence b. Boasting and failing may be two sides of the same coin c. A moderate inflation of self esteem has certain benefits d. An embellished self image seems to help us weather the ups and downs of daily life e. Rose colored glasses tend to increase our sense of well being and our performance
 6 a. Experiencing contempt and belittlement in childhood can make them belittle themselves and their efforts b. People with a negative self image don’t want to overcompensate / Many individuals racked with self-doubt seek confirmation of their distorted self perception c. We want others to see us the way we see ourselves / The desire for coherence
7 a.  To appear convincing, we ourselves must be convinced of our capabilities and truthfulness b.  We adapt our self-deceptions flexibly to new situations c. We know something about ourselves on some level without being conscious of it d. People incorrectly think intelligent people usually do better on tests.
8 a. To examine how people’s view of their true self affected their satisfaction with themselves b. Humans harbor a true self that is virtuous / People pull for what is moral and good c.  What we claim to be the core of another person’s personality is in fact rooted in the values that we ourselves hold most dear d. We ascribe more negative traits to the person we were in the past e. Yes; nearly three out of four monks decided against the fictitious option far more than the Americans or Hindus
9 a. To try to prove they are moral b. Those who think they know themselves well are particularly apt to know themselves less well than they think

10 a. People’s own theories about who they are influence how they behave / One’s self-image can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy b. An attitude aimed at personal growth c. The fact that we view our character as static

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


Tariffs and quotas, controversial weapons in the government economic arsenal, are once again being implemented. The US government claims that this is going to help deal with their economic woes while others warn of the dangers of going down this path. Do your research and decide who is right and then write an essay where you discuss the effects of applying tariffs and quotas and starting a trade war.
Familiarise yourself with the issue
·         How Americans may be hurt by tariffs
·         The pros and cons of import tariffs and trade protectionism Scroll down for the history of trade protectionism
Reading material to make notes on
·         Pros and cons of tariffs
·         The disadvantages of tariffs and quotas
·         Benefits and costs of tariffs
·         The basics of tariffs and trade barriers
Videos to take notes from
·         Tariffs and protectionism

·         How tariffs work
       Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays:

Thursday, July 12, 2018


We occasionally read about recipients of organs who suddenly develop likes and dislikes or proclivities they have hitherto not had and which their donor had. Is an organ just that, an organ, or do you get more than you bargained for when you undergo surgery to receive a new organ? This question has prompted research into cellular memory. Do your research to gain a better insight into what exactly it is and write an essay on the topic.  
Familiarize yourself with the issue
·         Shocking examples of cellular memory
·         BBC Drama doc Cellular Memory
Reading tasks to make notes on
·         Could memory traces exist in cell bodies?
·         Cellular memory and how it works
·         Organ transplant: can a new heart change your life and your taste in music?
Videos to watch and take notes from
·         Mindshock: transplanting memories

·         Do major organs have self contained memories
      Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays: 

Saturday, July 7, 2018


“Contrary to recent opinion, there is such a thing as a self, and it is empirically amenable to scientific investigation”
By: ┼×erife Tekin
Level of Difficulty: ****
Click the icon to the left of the screen to listen to the text, read along and make notes
1.       The main argument in favor of the antirealist standpoint is the fact that…..According to anti realists the self is a construct of…..
2.       Watch: David Hume – Is there a self? His failure to….lead David Hume to conclude that we have no experience of a simple, individual impression that we can call the self.
3.       In the paragraph discussing Dennett’s views, it is implied that the self could have been open to scientific research had it been…………
4.       According to Joplin, there is a positive correlation between ……………… on the one hand and ……………………….
5.       Where in the paragraph beginning “The answer…” would you place the following sentence: The antirealists have got it all wrong; there is a simple explanation which refutes all their arguments.
6.       Which sentence in the text best describes what the multitudinous self is?
7.       The concept of the multitudinous self builds on Neisser’s Five Kinds of Self Knowledge in the sense that it envisions the self…
8.       Read the example of the 12-year old to the end. What general conclusion can we draw from this example? This example proves that ….. (There are two answers, find both)
9.       Read the paragraph beginning “Recall…” to the end and the paragraph that follows. Which sentence in this section best expresses the dichotomy between the antirealist view of the self and the multitudinous view of the self?
10.   According to philosophers like William James, Joplin, Flanagan and the like, the reality of the self matters because otherwise, ………………………..
11.   It important to view the self as a complex whole whose parts interact with each other because otherwise we would not be able to…
12.   The major advantage of in depth understanding of the self is the potential to …
Write an essay in which you compare and contrast the anti realist versus the multitudinous self.
This is a serious philosophy text and will not appeal to everyone so be careful if you decide to take it in to class. It could go down like a led bullet or fly depending on the class. The task is better suited to individual work where those who are interested in the subject can enjoy it on their own.
1.       If there is no one to perceive it there would be no self / Cultural, social and linguistic conventions
2.       Catch himself at any time without a perception
3.       Impermeable and inflexible
4.       Culture and language / experiences of the self
5.       At the end of the paragraph to provide transition to the following paragraph
6.       The self is a dynamic, complex relational and multi-aspectual mechanism of capacities, processes, states and traits that support a degree of agency
7.       As a complex mechanism with many dimensions that interact and work together to maintain a more or less stable agency over time
8.       We can acquire information about the selfhood of 12 year olds, tracking information about them in all five dimensions by relying on both first person and third person perspectives / OR The self of the preteen is empirically tractable
9.       While the anti realists are right to note the variability in self concepts and private experiences of the self, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t regularities within the variability
10.    The self would not be open to the enrichment of moral possibilities
11.    Fathom the complexity of mental disorders
Improve the lives of those whose self experiences are not conducive